Inspiring Regional Youth and Strengthening their Communities

cowra rcp1

For thirty-five young students from regional Australia, a week with Outward Bound meant much more than a chance to develop individual potential - it meant an opportunity build their local town into a strong, thriving community.

The students from local public and catholic schools in the western NSW town of Cowra recently spent seven days with Outward Bound in ACT’s Namadgi National Park as part of the Regional Community Partnerships program, which aims to build stronger communities in marginalised areas by inspiring the local youth. The program is made possible only by generous donations to the Outward Bound Development Fund from organisations and individuals who are determined to see rural and regional students gain access to the same learning opportunities as their peers in the city.

Outward Bound CEO Darren Black said this partnership with local communities, schools and sponsors has enormous potential to work at the root cause of many of our most problematic social issues.

cowra rcp3“By exposing young people growing up in rural or marginalised areas to the critical life skills learned on an Outward Bound course, they’re given the opportunity to strengthen their perceptions of the world, despite the influence of a sometimes negative society,” Mr Black said.

“It means these young people can harness their leadership potential and become role-models in their community, inspiring a trend that see’s small communities thrive.”

The Regional Community Partnerships program is based on an initiative that introduced the “circle of giving” by assisting another in similar need. Participants are encouraged to raise a portion of the course cost themselves, which is then channelled directly back into Outward Bound and allows AOBDF to contribute to others’ scholarships.

Cowra’s St Raphael’s High School student Ben Wilkinson, 14, said the course gave him the chance to gain discipline he never would have had the opportunity to develop without Outward Bound.

“The most challenging aspect of the course was having to be with 17 totally different people for a whole week,” Ben said.

“Learning to deal with and tolerate other people was difficult, but with perseverance I overcame it and learnt to harness this frustration and use it to lead the group with enthusiasm.”

Bianca Riggio, 15, also from St Raphael’s, said the course taught her the importance of respecting her parents, teachers and local community members.

“Outward Bound taught me to pay more attention to others’ needs and has inspired me contribute more both at home and at school,” said Bianca.

Cowra High School and St Raphael’s High School have been engaged in the Community Partnership program since 2005 and were able to attend this year’s program thanks to a generous last-minute donation to the Australian Outward Bound Development Fund from the Danks Trust.

cowra rcp2If you would like to contribute to the future of the Cowra Community’s Outward Bound program, or donate towards a program for a regional school in another area, please contact AODBF Officer Susan Sharf:

Phone (02) 6235 5754, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Or you can make a direct donation at

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